Howard the Duck (#6 – 9) – Steve Gerber

5 out of 5

The rise and fall of Howard as a political candidate.

Is Howard… a hero?  A rebel?  It took Steve a few beats to figure it out after the character’s initial appearances and the first few issues of the ongoing, but something great crystallizes in issue #6 of the series: Howard is the duck things just happen to, and we go from there.  His decision to leave Cleveland for New York results in getting into a real estate dispute with a religious leader; into being attacked by a cookie monster; into being a presidential candidate; into a requisite political scandal; into a battle with an overgrown Canadian beaver.  And Steve’s wit and commentary is as sharp and funny as Hell throughout, marrying both the wackiness and “lemme tell ya’ how it is” narration that was already threaded into the book, but presented as a kneejerk reaction instead of stemming from a curmudgeon forcing his way into events.

It works wonders, and Gene Colan also seems to up his game slightly, tuning down his sweeping line for something a bit crisper and more fitting for the book’s tone, more than ably illustrating the zigs and zags of our duck’s travails.  This is laugh out loud stuff, and prime Howard; not just an accident of popularity in search of a storyline, but a character with a need for a monthly book.